Hundreds of people collectively dreaming about the future of Squamish 2040, in January 2016.
I read a lot of comments online from people that are concerned about how quickly Squamish is changing and growing. I share a lot of those concerns. I've seen a lot of changes since 2001 when my partner and I first came here on a climbing trip, and I worry that many of the things that first attracted us to Squamish—like the proximity of wilderness and trails—are being lost.
At the same time, I like the more vibrant downtown, the restaurants and cafes, events, and diverse cultural activities that more people bring.
While some of the changes that are happening are beyond our control (e.g., the combination of the pandemic and affordable housing crisis has driven people out of Vancouver, which has increased real estate prices and rental costs in communities across B.C.), many of the decisions that are currently influencing development in Squamish happened many (many!) councils ago, when land was first zoned for development.
In 2016 we mobilized our community to participate in Squamish 2040, a visioning process that informed our Official Community Plan (OCP). The OCP is what guides every council decision.
This is the aspirational "big picture" vision for Squamish, and I highly recommend reading it to better understand how local government works, and how council and staff decisions are informed by this policy document.
Right now, we have another opportunity to influence what the future of Squamish looks like, through two neighbourhood planning processes.
Garibaldi Estates neighbourhood plan
The District of Squamish is developing a neighbourhood plan for Garibaldi Estates to establish a vision for the next 20 years that supports a diversity of housing options, employment space, transportation, and community amenities.
Infill development is prioritized in the Squamish 2040 Official Community Plan to make use of existing neighbourhoods and protect the natural environment that surrounds us, even while Squamish grows.
Infill development also supports Big Move #2 from the Community Climate Action Plan to shift beyond the car and create communities where we can walk and bike to services.
Your input is critical. What do you want Garibaldi Estates to look like in 20 years?
There are four open houses next week on Monday October 18th (in person), and Wednesday October 20th (online).
There are also three surveys to take on housing, transportation and amenities, and employment space (deadline November 4th). Plus a project timeline and FAQs which will help to answer any questions you may have.
North Crumpit neighbourhood plan
This week, the land owner of North Crumpit hosted two public engagement sessions, setting a very high bar for community engagement and transparency (seriously, I was impressed).
It's pretty fascinating to see the maps developed by their team, showing terrain, trails, ecosystem sensitivity, and all the information we need to inform if or how this development proceeds.
You can see the survey results, watch the presentation, or download a PDF of the presentation HERE.
The land owner is asking for feedback on this material by October 27th. Fill out the feedback form HERE.
We are establishing a Crumpit Legacy Initiative to explore how we can protect these precious ecosystems. Email me if you'd like to help.
If you want to have a say in the future of Squamish, get involved!
Executive Director, My Sea to Sky
Follow me on twitter: @tracey_saxby
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